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Auction of plein air art to help Challenged Child
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"The Koi Fish" by 10-year-old Zoe Ambrosetti - photo by SARA GUEVARA

The annual Art in the Square festival may be about a month away, but art fans can already get a glimpse of some participants’ work — along with other local artists — all this month at Frames-You-Nique.

About 40 plein air paintings, all on 6-by-8-inch canvases and individually framed by the shop, are up for auction starting Monday and will be available for bidding until Oct. 4, the day of Art in the Square.

The monthlong silent auction is also a fundraiser for Challenged Child and Friends, said organizer Anne Brodie Hill, president of The Art League. All of the artists on display are members of The Art League, and they all donated their talents to the auction as well.

"It all started with people who do plein air," Hill said. The style of painting involves painting a scene on location, usually on a small canvas. The technique has its roots in the French impressionists’ style of painting, but many of the artists on display at Frames-You-Nique exhibit their own dramatic style as well.

The Art League includes members from all across North Georgia who range in age, experience and style, Hill said; they are connected by their love of painting.

Challenged Child and Friends provides therapeutic, educational, nursing and family support services to children with disabilities in an environment integrated with mainstream students

"There’s several (in The Art League) who have been doing it for several years, and so that just kind of lead to, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice to have all the frames the same size," Hill added. "Don came up with the idea for it to be a fundraiser for Challenged Child, to showcase local artists."

Don Griffin, owner of Frames-You-Nique, is donating the framing for the pieces. He said the paintings will be on display and available for bidding through Oct. 4, "and we hope to raise a lot of money for Challenged Child."

The paintings show a range of styles, from soft green water lilies by Ann Alexander, who usually does much larger pieces, to a painting by 10-year-old Zoe Ambrosetti, who sold her paintings in the children’s market portion of Art in the Square last year, Hill said. A few of the artists are professional photographers who paint on the side, and some works are oils while others are watercolors sprayed with a UV protectant to allow them to be hung without glass.

One piece by Cheryl Hardin, incoming Art League president, features a warm evening sky against a water scene.

"I hope everyone will come in and take a look at them and bid on them," Hill added.

Lee Highsmith, director of development for Challenged Child and Friends, said this is the first art auction of this nature the organization has had for a fundraiser.

"We are so blessed in Northeast Georgia to have the kind of artists we have," she said. "What a gift."

Bidding starts Monday, with a minimum bid of $75. Bids are in $10 increments, Hill said, and a book accompanying the paintings tells viewers a bit about each artist, along with a story about the painting and a bidding sheet for each artwork.

Frames-You-Nique is located at 104 Main St. on the Gainesville square and is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays.

"We really want to get the word out so people know this is here and have the opportunity to take home an original artwork," Hardin said.

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